Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp took a swipe at Arsenal’s famed style of play ahead of Sunday’s English Premier League opener, dubbing it a “myth” (via the Metro).
Arsene Wenger’s side have long had a reputation of playing an attractive style of play in a league historically notorious for the occasional long ball. However the German boss maintained that their scintillating 3-3 standoff in January says otherwise.
Speaking at the pre-match news conference, Klopp said “I think everyone who saw the game saw the difference between this game and all the other Arsenal games.”
“But in the last few years Arsenal had a more direct style. They have only good football players but at the end they don’t use all of them in each build up or each offensive movement — it is a myth. It is definitely a plan and they want to win games.
“Arsenal is usually a football playing team but last time against us there was a lot of long balls and always to Olivier Giroud [who scored two goals in the match].
“The second ball was to [Mesut] Ozil, they caused us a lot of problems in this game. That was a big threat on that day.”
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Both of the aforementioned players have been given extended breaks following Euro 2016 and are expected to miss the Gunners and the Reds locking horns for their first match of the 2016/17 season.
The Gunners are known as a club that favours walking the ball into the back of the net over a score-by-any-means tactic. As a result, the German boss’ comments may not sit well with Wenger and the legion of supporters.
However, a look at the stats may refute Klopp’s claim. In the last five campaigns in the English top-flight, the north London giants are top of the list for total number of passes in the last three seasons.
Furthermore, Arsenal’s tally of 21,249 passes last season was the club’s second highest figure in the last 10 Premier League seasons, and the third best number by any club from 2006/07 onward.
Is it possible that the Liverpool manager’s true intention was mind games, hoping Le Prof would go in search of the perfect goal when the two sides meet this weekend? Will it work? Only time will tell.